Freestyle skiing is a winter sport combining the thrill of skiing with acrobatics. In this sport, a skier does a ski freestyle in the form of spins and aerial flips. Additionally, there can also be skiers who are sliding boxes and rails on their skis. Freestyle ski has many names around the world- the most common of them being jibbing and freeskiing.
However, in the past, people called it ‘hotdogging.’
There are various forms of this sport, for example, cross, moguls, slopestyle, half-pipe, and the most famous one- aerials.
SKi Freestyle In The Past
Enthusiasts in this sport performed tricks such as somersaults since as early as 1914. Eventually, their popularity grew, and these stunts became ideal meet additions by the 1920s. Olympic gold medalist Stein Eriksen popularised these stunts as a sport in 1950 as aerial skiing. Since then aerials are a very prominent part of every ski freestyle.
However, in America, this sport took off late- in the 1960s when people started developing new techniques. By 1979, the Federation of International Skiing(FIS) recognized freestyle skiing as an official sport. Along with recognition, the federation also stopped some tricks and stunts that could have caused loss of lives. Later, the FIS also staged the first World Cup series the following year.
Types Of Ski Freestyle
- Aerial Skiing: The people who perform aerial ski freestyle like to call themselves “aerialists.” These people jump off short ramps into the air. While airborne, they perform multiple somersaults, twists, and flips and land onto an inclined landing hill of 34-39 degrees. This hill is about 30 meters long to give the skiers enough time to balance on their feet.
- Mogul Skiing: In this, the skier has to make his way through bumps in the snow called ‘moguls.’ Also, the skier has to make two upright jumps to qualify.
Additionally, the judges score them on speed, maneuvers, and turn techniques.
- Half-Pipe Skiing: The athlete has to ski till the end of a half-pipe while performing tricks.
- Slopestyle Skiing: In slopestyle, the skier goes down a course full of obstacles such as jumps and rails. However, in this style, the main focus is on the authenticity of tricks rather than speed.
In the 1988 Calgary Games, Alberta, freestyle skiing came in as a demonstration sport.
After this, the FIS approved it for Olympic competition. However, a few types of freestyling got recognition later in 2010 and 2014.
Prodigies In The Game
Here are the names of the few people who are raising the bars in ski freestyle.
Bobby Brown: He is a freestyle skier from Colorado. He got his fame while receiving a perfect score at the aerial event in the Winter X Games. Since then, he has six gold medals from the Winter X Games alone and 2 Silvers from other games.
Tom Wallisch: He is another name on the billboards in this sport. He won gold in the 2012 Slopestyle competition; not to forget his back to back Powder Reader Poll awards.
Additionally, he does stunts for many extreme ski movies.